Which Industries are Gaining a Positive Return on Social Media Investment?

In two industries – media and entertainment, and high tech, the majority of respondents said they’ve generated positive return on social media investment done till date. Approximately 62% of media and entertainment companies reported a positive ROI (31% had a negative ROI). And 52% of high tech companies had a positive ROI (while 17% of them had a negative ROI). Approximately 49% of retailers had positive ROI. (See Exhibit III-22)

Why do these five industries have companies that more frequently achieved positive returns on social media than the other six industries in our survey? Two thoughts:

  • They are more likely to have consumers who are loyal fans of their offerings: TV shows, computers, stores, mobile devices, and other offerings as against industries that sell necessities but don’t have fans: insurance, medical services; checking accounts or electric service, to name a few.
  • Perhaps consumers with a passion for a product or service are easier for firms to engage through social media. This suggests that certain industries have a better opportunity to use social media to create consumer ‘tribes’ around their products or services – consumers who are avid fans of the product or service, and the company behind it.

Exhibit III-22: Percentage of Respondents with Positive ROI on Social Media, by Industry

Exhibit 3-22: Percentage of Respondents with Positive ROI on Social Media, by Industry

The following exhibit shows the percentage of respondents in each global industry with positive and negative ROI, as well as respondents that hadn’t measured their ROI (some of these said they plan to measure ROI, others said they don’t).

We see that, in every industry, a higher percentage of respondents report a positive ROI than a negative ROI. (See Exhibit III-23) But in the following industries, the ratio of positive-to-negative ROI respondents is much greater:

  • Media and Entertainment: about a 2-to-1 ratio
  • Consumer packaged goods: about 3-to-1
  • High tech: about 3-to-1
  • Manufacturing: more than 2-to-1
  • Telecom: more than 2-to-1
  • Travel: more than 2-to-1

Exhibit III-23: Who’s Gaining ROI on Social Media?

Exhibit 3-23: Who’s Gaining ROI on Social Media?

We believed that a great number of companies would not be able to calculate (or even estimate) their ROI on social media. Hence, we asked all respondents (even those who hadn’t measured ROI) to rate the degree to which their social media activities improved 16 aspects of performance (including one that respondents could ‘fill in the blank’). (We provided a scale of 1-5, where 1= not at all, 3 = moderate degree, 5= very high degree.) These parameters fell into four categories:

Brand image and consumer awareness

  • Increased consumer awareness – the number of consumers who receive our messages
  • Increased brand affinity – the number of consumers who view our brand favorably,and their affinity toward our brand
  • How consumers view our brand and products (i.e., consumer sentiment)
  • Reduced the number and severity of consumer attacks on our brand image

Process improvements

  • Improved marketing campaigns
  • Improved after-sale customer service
  • Improved our sales processes

Cost reductions

  • Reduced marketing costs
  • Reduced sales costs
  • Reduced customer service costs
  • Reduced new product development costs

Revenue and product innovation and enhancement

  • Increased revenue
  • Identified new product/new service opportunities
  • Improved existing products/services
  • Understood important consumer trends

On the 16 parameters each respondent could have received a minimum score of 16 (those that scored themselves a 1 on each of the 16 factors) and a maximum score of 80 (those that scored themselves as 5 on all 16 factors). We then looked at each industry and the percentage of its respondents that scored in three ranges:

  • Lowest range (16 to 45), which accounted for 29% of all respondents
  • Middle range (46-60), which was 45% of all respondents
  • Upper range (61-80), which was 27% of all respondents

On 16 qualitative measures, three industries had the highest percentage of respondents in the upper range of scores:

  • Telecom (39% of respondents)
  • Media and entertainment (39%)
  • High tech (38%)

Insurance (13%), health care (14%) and CPG (17%) had the smallest percentage of respondents in the upper range. Exhibit III-24 shows each industry on the three ranges of scores.

Exhibit III-24: Media, Telecom and High Tech are in the Lead on 16 Qualitative Measures of Social Media Impact

Exhibit 3-24: Media, Telecom and High Tech are in the Lead on 16 Qualitative Measures of Social Media Impact


Mastering Digital Feedback – Findings: Global Consumer Industries
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